Wednesday, October 16, 2013


In my short story "The 1909 Proserpine Prize" I imagined an Edwardian literary award, founded by an inventor of luminous umbrellas, "to reward the author of the book that most skilfully went into the dark and emerged with something of the light . . . ." The story is available for free reading in the Swan River Press Reader.

In an interview for Swan River Press, John Howard asked me who I thought should receive the Proserpine Prize today. This gave me the splendid opportunity both to mention some favourite authors and to think of some imaginary books by them, books that don't yet exist, but should. So if you ever hear of Mary Ann Allen's A Crown for the Unicorn or John Gale's Saraband of Sable, or one of four other fanciful titles, you'll know that the real world has caught up with the dream world at last.


  1. I enjoyed the interview. I, too, like the first 2 decades of the 20th Century. I think because it's modern enough in some ways for me to relate to - they've got phones, electric lights, and cars - yet it's old enough to be shrouded in mystery. You couldn't Google Tibet, for example. Great Britain was finding mummies in Egypt. Now I'm going back to read 'The 1909 Proserpine Prize.'

  2. Thanks Bill. A colleague one said to me "It's always 1936 in your world, isn't it Mark?". I thought it was a great compliment!